Is your salad dressing causing you harm?

Salads… a mountain of leafy greens, tasty veggies, maybe some lean protein and a sprinkle of nuts – they seem like a healthy option for lunch or dinner. However, not all salads are good, healthy choices, particularly when you examine what’s in the dressing.

The truth is regular store-bought salad dressings can be very high in calories, sodium, sugar and fat, and lacking any nutrition at all. While, Caesar, ranch and other creamy dressings tend to be some of the most unhealthiest on the supermarket shelf, it’s also essential to read the label of your oils too. In general, look out for the word ‘blended’ on labels — this means that the oil contains other vegetable oils or additives.

Confused about what you’re putting on your salad? Here’s a breakdown of what the oils are:

COLD-PRESSED OILS are produced by crushing or pressing the seed or nut and forcing out the oil without the use of heat. This is considered a much healthier option and tends to taste more like the source of the oil because the oil hasn’t been stripped of its natural nutrients, antioxidants, and flavour.

UNREFINED VS. REFINED: Unrefined processing uses minimal heat and does not include bleaching or deodorising. Refined oils have been processed through heat, colour stripping, and a deodorising process.

EXTRA VIRGIN is the purest form of olive oil. It has been cold pressed and has not gone through bleaching and deodorising. However, it has a low smoke point. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is great for consuming raw, but not for cooking.

VIRGIN OLIVE OIL is made using the same process, but with riper olives. It has a lighter flavour and a slightly higher smoke point. Some chefs like using it for cooking at low temperatures.

These label terms indicate how the oil was processed, or the source of the oil. Once you’ve bought your oils: They should be stored in dark containers, glass if possible, and the colour should resemble the plant it originated from.

Top tip:

If you’re out at a restaurant and order a salad, ask for the dressing on the side. That way, you can reduce how much you add to your salad.

Ready to start a healthier way of living? Join our Feel Fabulous by Friday program here.